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Get Jiro! [Hardcover]

Anthony Bourdain , Joel Rose , Langdon Foss
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 3 2012 Get Jiro!

Library Journal Best Book of 2012

In a not-too-distant future L.A. where master chefs rule the town like crime lords and people literally kill for a seat at the best restaurants, a bloody culinary war is raging.

On one side, the Internationalists, who blend foods from all over the world into exotic delights. On the other, the "Vertical Farm," who prepare nothing but organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic dishes. Into this maelstrom steps Jiro, a renegade and ruthless sushi chef, known to decapitate patrons who dare request a California Roll, or who stir wasabi into their soy sauce. Both sides want Jiro to join their factions. Jiro, however has bigger ideas, and in the end, no chef may be left alive!

Anthony Bourdain, top chef, acclaimed writer (Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw) and star of the hit travel show, No Reservations, co-writes with Joel Rose (Kill Kill Faster Faster, The Blackest Bird) this stylized send-up of food culture and society, with detailed and dynamic art by Langdon Foss.

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"'Get Jiro!'" unfolds in a dystopian version of Los Angeles where today's (mostly) polite and academic discussions about food have evolved into grisly gastronomic feuds.... In some ways, "Get Jiro!" represents a coming-full-circle thing for Mr. Bourdain."—The New York Times

"What's an ex-yakuza enforcer turned sushi chef to do, ask culinary expert and author Bourdain (Medium Raw) and co-writer Joel Rose (La Pacifica) in this boisterous lampooning of food culture, a pet project for Bourdain, who seems to revel in the unrestrained narrative allowed in a comic book. Their answer will be enjoyable to anyone versed in samurai revenge stories or the films of Sam Peckinpah.... The book's saving grace is the wonderfully clean and detailed art by an all-star team of artists led by illustrator Foss, whose meticulously researched and composed visuals mirror Jiro's precision with a knife and produce equally appetizing results."—Publishers Weekly

"Bourdain...promised 'an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcane,' and he delivers pretty much exactly that....Bourdain let's his foodie id run wild, extolling the elegant simplicity of a peasant dish like pot-au-feu here and caving in skulls with sauté pans there.  Foss' stubby, dough-faced figures walk a fine line between goofy and thuggish, and fall apart with great ickiness when dismembered. Equal parts blunt culinary opinion-mongering and satiric takedown of the very same chef-worship culture Bourdain helped create, this amusing diversion coasts comfortably in the wake of the standard bearer of gore-soaked foodie comics..."—Booklist

About the Author

Born in 1956, Anthony Bourdain graduated from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America. He began running New York kitchens at restaurants such as Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue, and Sullivan's. His extensive body of work has graced the pages of The Times, New York Times, Observer, the Face, and Scotland on Sunday. He is an ongoing contributor and authority for Food Arts magazine. Bourdain's fictional works include two crime novels– 1997's Gone Bamboo and Bone in the Throat in 1995. His book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly was a bestseller, with an updated edition published in 2007. In 2002, the Food Network debuted what would become a twenty-two episode series featuring Bourdain circling the globe and feeding his adventure eating habit with the most extreme cuisine the world had to offer. The inspired bestselling book, A Cook's Tour In Search of the Perfect Meal, met with huge success in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Joel Rose's most recent novel is The Blackest Bird, which has been translated into 13 languages. Previous books include Kill the Poor, Kill Kill Faster Faster (both of which have been made into films), and New York Sawed in Half. For DC Comics, he wrote the graphic novels La Pacifica and The Big Book Of Thugs.

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Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is well written with some interesting subject matter and the artwork is very well done. It seems to exisit in a Blade Runner / Cyber Punk sort of world where chefs have come to rule supreme which is dark and a little quirky. One issue is that for a graphic novel it may be a little short and it seems a little closer to comic book length than graphic novel length.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Comic - not. July 19 2013
By Jane
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Could not even finish but for those who are comic book fans, the illustrations are really good. But for reading, not for me.
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5 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Andre Lawrence TOP 50 REVIEWER
I don't know what happened here.

This novel is a cross between those old 70's films, The Warriors and Lone Wolf/ Lightning Swords of Death. There's, clearly, a deliberate attempt to tap into the Quentin Tarantino fan base.

But, the difference between, let's say, "Kill Bill" and this disaster is that Tarantino knows how to take disparate elements, stereotypes and mold them into a truly interesting story.

This story is just plain dumb. D-U-M-B...dumb.

Would you ever see (or expect your audience to wink to) a character who'd slice off a customer's head--unprovoked--because he ate sushi the wrong way while his friends, who're sitting by his decapitated body, merely wipe away his blood before resuming their obsession with Jiro's delicacies?

The main story revolves around Jiro, a renegade chef who just moved to L.A. to start a new life but finds himself embroiled between restaurant mafias who vie for his services.

Not even the illustrations can save this dud and I'm being VERY generous.

GET JIRO....NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 star.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  64 reviews
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Handsome Artwork And An Amusing Premise, But The Satiric Storytelling Needs More Flavor May 31 2012
By K. Harris - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Controversial food personality Anthony Bourdain has never been reticent about vocalizing his viewpoints about cooking, foodie culture, and/or other celebrity chefs. This brash and opinionated matter-of-factness can make him somewhat of a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. I, for one, appreciate that his honesty (and even disdain) are not instantly filtered through a politically correct publicity machine. In the current entertainment landscape, it's increasingly rare for someone to express an unprocessed thought. So while I may not always agree with the outspoken Bourdain, I respect his forthrightness. I've been a fan of many of Bourdain's books, and still rank 2000's "Kitchen Confidential" as one of my favorites (it was even adapted into a short-lived and criminally underrated FOX sitcom with Bradley Cooper).

Thus, I was pretty excited by the idea of "Get Jiro!" Combining my love of food entertainment with my love of the graphic novel form (is this really a large market?), "Get Jiro!" just sounded like fun! And, to a certain degree, it is. The story revolves around a future version of Los Angeles where fine dining and culinary superiority rule the day. The city is ravaged by opposing chefs, and this violent division creates a daily body count in the war of food movements. The two despots that run the dueling factions are exaggerated and satiric versions of contemporary food personalities that you might recognize (if not by actual person, by philosophy). Amidst the bloodshed (and enhancing it ten-fold), an independent sushi chef named Jiro comes to the attention of both warlords. But by trying to manipulate Jiro to their own end, each may find their own undoing at hand.

Again, I love the idea of "Get Jiro!" The finished artwork that I've seen (credited to Langdon Foss) is incredibly detailed and impressive. I read quite a few graphic novels, and I would hold the completed images that were provided in my advance copy easily on the top tier. There is no doubt in my mind that the book will be visually stunning. Just studying the images, there are plenty of small in-jokes to amuse and entertain and the coloring and shading is top notch. My primary reservations, however, come from the actual story. Once I fully embraced the premise, I didn't feel like the narrative took me anyplace that I wasn't expecting from having read the synopsis. Once established, the story is rather straightforward (if gore soaked) and I wanted a bit more cleverness, a few more surprises, more moments to make me laugh. The idea is loaded with satiric possibilities, but the text plays it too straight through the violent onslaught of images.

As a curiosity, I'd still recommend this to Bourdain fans or those interested in the culinary scene. If Jiro returns for another adventure, however, I'd like the humor to be heightened. It's a lunatic world that has been created, embrace it! About 3 1/2 stars. I liked my trip to the future, but I wanted to love it! KGHarris, 5/12.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The battle of foodie culture has begun in `Get Jiro!' Aug. 20 2012
By David Suiter - Published on
Renowned Chef and best selling author Anthony Bourdain grew up a fan of comic books. He loved the work of comic legend Will Eisner. He aspired to one day make comics. In the Vertigo original graphic novel Get Jiro! Bourdain follows in the footsteps of his comic idols and puts pictures to his words. Along with co-writer Joel Rose and artist Langdon Foss, Bourdain gives a twisted and violent look at the future of a food obsessed society and the proper presentation of sushi.

The story focuses on the sushi chef Jiro. We learn right away is that Jiro does not suffer fools in his sushi restaurant. When a patron dishonors Jiro by sloppily eating his nigiri and requesting a California Roll, Jiro slices his head off. Instead of the police getting Jiro, the top two restaurant financiers in the world seek out the sushi chef to have him bring his passion for good food to their establishments.

In the not too distant future, the new power in the world is its chefs. Two chefs rein supreme. Bob, of Global Affiliates, churns out chain restaurants to feed his bank account treating the masses as uncouth sheep. Then there is Rose, of the Farm, whose devotion to local grown organic goods inspires zealotry in her followers. These two chefs run mob-like organizations and are out to get Jiro.

Bourdain and Joel Rose explore the dueling nature of the food cultures brilliantly, playing up the hypocrisy of both sides. Jiro, while protective of his food and how it is enjoyed, remains outside of the fanaticism of these food mafias.

Much of Bourdain's personality can be seen in the graphic novel. Bourdain exudes his views on food culture and the games among chefs that have overtaken the importance of quality food. Bourdain has done well in meshing his culinary commentary with the graphic novel form. The book is beautifully done while also injecting humor and violence into an obsessive food culture.

The art of Get Jiro! is stunning in its portrayal of the food on the pages. Foss' attention to detail when drawing the sushi prepared by Jiro will entice even the most tepid of palates. From perfectly executed nigiri to perfectly executed beheadings and dismemberments, Foss captures the tone of the story. The portrayal of all the characters plays into the satirical nature of the story which is shown in the beautiful artwork.

Get Jiro! lampoons the foodie culture through extreme, condoned violence. The book looks at how too much significance is placed in what goes into the food or how mass produced the food can be rather than how it is tasted and enjoyed. Jiro is a mystery man whose greatest attribute, his love of food, comes through in these pages. He is willing to kill for his craft and is lauded for it. The book captures the outspoken nature of its writer as Bourdain tells a great tale that shows the craziness of the kitchens Bourdain cut his teeth in.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really wanted to like it, but felt shallow July 2 2012
By Storm - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I'm a big Bourdain fan and I really like his articles and books. He's got a fast-paced, smarmy style which just reads really well. Unfortunately Jiro has some of the attitude, a little bit of food, and just a smattering of plot. Jiro takes place in an alternate universe where food is the governing currency. If you have great food, you're the winner in this world. It's also sort of a medium-post-apocalyptic-urban-anarchy-sprawl world. Not exactly "the bomb just went off," but "no real government, modern wild west". In the middle of this world is Jiro - who as far as we can tell, just popped into existence as the "Ultimate Sushi Chef". Jiro has many attributes I would imagine Bourdain thinks of when he thinks of a "Chef's chef". He's uncompromising on quality, does not do "fusion," and has the sharpest knives on the block. He's also got a hair trigger temper when it comes to his food.

Without spoiling the plot, lets just say that the story follows a basic Kurosawa-esque outline (think "Yojimbo"). This makes sense since Bourdain has stated many times that he is a great Kurosawa fan. Unfortunately the translation of the gangster-on-gangster violence just doesn't get put forth very well and the comic just feels jumpy and discombobulated. I'm not sure how much of the comic was Bourdain and how much was Rose - but it feels like Bourdain's input might have been "Make it about sushi, make it violent, make it like a Kurosawa film".

On the plus side, I really liked Langdon Foss' art. The lines were really clean but they did get muddled a bit when he was trying to add too much detail in a single panel - but for the most part, I thought the style brought much to the overall feel of the world and the characters.

If you want to turn off your brain for a little bit, read a comic book about a sushi chef in an anarchist world, and not want to think too deeply about what the heck is going on, Get Jiro! isn't a bad quick read. If you're looking for another Watchmen, or Wanted! graphic novel with an amazing story, keep looking. If you're just into a Japanese comic, I would highly suggest a little comic about a Japanese rabbit samurai instead.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Bourdain wrote a comic about modern food culture?! Feb. 10 2013
By SixStringSamurai13 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A fun, satirical look at where modern foodie-culture could go and how chefs and how chef culture will change because of it. I liked the plot for the most part and the artwork and dialog were quite good. My only complaint is that the story feels rushed towards the end after having such a strong start.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delectable comic treat Nov. 28 2012
By Sam Quixote - Published on
Los Angeles in the future - all culture has fallen by the wayside except for culinary expertise. Food and cooking has gotten so pervasive that it dominates LA with food being used as currency and social status. Those who eat fast food are left in the outer fringes of the city, obese and poor, and as you get closer toward the centre the Food Mafia dish out gourmet cuisine in fashionable restaurants. This food monopoly is presided over by two warring clans - the organic food gang and the mass produced franchise food group, both of whom want the other dead. Then a nondescript sushi chef called Jiro from the outer fringes sets up shop, producing the best sushi ever made using the choicest ingredients in true traditional Japanese manner. During a scuffle with a customer who puts soy sauce and wasabi on his rice, Jiro displays a prowess with a knife and a fighting style that makes him a prime candidate for both gang leaders to try to recruit him to assassinate the other. Get Jiro!

This book is silly - the premise is silly, the story is silly, and if I were to look critically at this, I would be pointing out anachronisms `til the cows come home. But this book is meant to be silly and I read this in the spirit in which it was offered: fun. And as a result, I really enjoyed it! The true brilliance of the book comes from the scenes featuring cooking and eating gourmet food. Anthony Bourdain is a renowed chef and culinary expert who infuses the story with moments that vividly put across his food background in unusual delicacies so that scenes where Jiro eats exclusive French cuisine in a little known bistro or goes fish shopping are wonderfully evocative and enjoyable to see.

Langdon Foss' fantastic artwork brings these moments vividly to life, taking the effort to illustrate ambitious restaurant and kitchen scenes with large numbers of people, drawing dream kitchens and nailing complicated cooking techniques throughout the book. Without an artist as talented as Foss on board, the book would've been far less enjoyable to read. He is assisted by two of the best colourists in the industry, Jose Villarrubia and Dave Stewart, both of whom elevate the comic by adding the kind of colours that make the story spring off the page and make the dishes look absolutely delicious.

The book's "plot" is really secondary to Jiro's food journey as we see him produce mouth-watering sushi before embarking on the best food LA has to offer. It's these scenes that makes the book worth reading over other books that would focus on the "exciting" aspects of the book, the fighting, etc. Bourdain delivers the action scenes in an over-the-top cartoony way and, while the violence is graphic, the context of it is so absurd that it never feels serious and acts as a means to getting to the next dish. Which is fine by me, I think the book worked great in this approach.

So long as the reader picks this up knowing it's a bonkers take on Bourdain's lifelong love of food mixed in which his love of comics and cartoonish martial arts action - and that's it's supposed to be fun, you're supposed to be smiling while reading this - then you'll get plenty out of it. Fans of "Chew" will like this book (and if you're reading this and haven't heard of John Layman and Rob Guillory's "Chew", do yourself a favour and check that series out) as it's a similarly funny and silly series featuring food as the driving force behind the story. "Get Jiro!" is a great fun story, really well illustrated, and will teach you some things about gourmet food while making you want to seek out new and exciting dining experiences. Definitely worth a look for the comics gourmet reader.
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